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The Drawing Love of the Father
“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him” (John 6:44a).
Rev. J. Van Haaren (1933-1983)
Translated from Offers die des avonds branden, Gebr. Koster, Barneveld, 2006
We should keep in mind that the Lord Jesus spoke these words to people who had come to Him from far and near. It is not that they just met Him by chance on the streets in Capernaum. They had expended much effort to find Him, and after seeking for a long time they finally did find Him. One day earlier, they had been the witnesses of a great wonder. With five loaves and two fishes the Lord Jesus had fed a multitude of five thousand people, and after the meal twelve baskets full were gathered together. This wonderful way in which they had been fed had made a deep impression upon them. It had made such an impression that they wanted to make Jesus a king. That is the type of king they desired. If He would become king over them, there would be no more hunger, and they would not lack anything. Then there would always be an abundance of bread.
However, He who knows the heart and the reins withdraws Himself from them, but the multitude is serious. Although He may have withdrawn Himself from them, they will seek Him until they have found Him. Finally, the following day, they find Him again. How much difficulty have they endured to come unto Jesus! Yes, they really had extended themselves. Now it was to these people that Jesus said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father who hath sent Me draw him.” They had come, but it was not with a right coming. They did not seek Him because they had seen the miracles but because they had eaten of the bread and were filled. Certainly, they wanted to make Him king; they did not, however, want Him to be king over them.
They wanted a fleshly, earthly kingdom, an earthly king. They sought Him for the food that perisheth, but for the food that will remain into eternal life, they had no need. For that Bread which descended down from heaven, they had no need. The Lord will now begin to uncover that unto them. Oh, how hard that word sounds in the ears of natural man, for in that word our lost state is revealed. No one, therefore, no Jew nor Gentile, no converted or unconverted, no religious or wicked, no one can nor will nor shall come to Jesus because in and of ourselves we see no beauty in Him, and we do not desire Him. There are enough who glory in a Jesus, but with all their glorying, they are indifferent to the Christ of Scripture. How do you desire Him—for the tokens or for the food?
The coming of which the Lord Jesus is speaking in our text is not an outward but a spiritual coming. This coming means: to embrace Him by faith as He is become of God wisdom, justification, sanctification, and complete salvation. In this coming is expressed that we can no longer live without Him, seeing everything outside of Him is insufficient for eternity. This coming is coming as a miserable and poor sinner to be saved by Him freely. Of this coming it must be said that no one is able, unless the Father Himself works it in them.
How this text pictures our state of death! It cannot be fully expressed how wretched we have become through sin. We lie dead in sin and trespasses, but that does not mean that we lie there quietly, for in our state of death we are full of enmity. We are enemies of God and of free grace. Yea, we are enemies of Zion’s anointed King. The Lord does not say these things so that we can hide behind our inability. Our inability is a fruit of our unwillingness. That is why the Lord speaks in another place, “Ye will not come to Me.” It is just in the hiding behind our inability that our enmity and unwillingness is shown. Our enmity is too great for us to take refuge by the Lord. We cannot and we will not do that. We are too rich in ourselves to be reconciled with God as a condemned sinner.
God’s children learn to know their state of death. They come to the realization that it is true what the apostle writes: that the natural man does not subject himself to the law of God and also is not able to do it. Yea, no one can come to Him unless the Father Himself draw him. Even though their eye may be opened for their lost state, the way of salvation can lie so hidden for them. If it had to come from their side, it would never succeed. What a wonder it is, therefore, that the Word does not just say that no one can come to Jesus but also it is written that the Father will draw them. What a precious gospel this is for those who do not know how they must be saved. Here we can cast a glance into the loving heart of the Father. God has had thoughts of peace for those who were guilty of death. Has that ever become a wonder for you?
The cause of the coming to Jesus lies in the sovereign good pleasure of God. It is only because of sovereign mercy that He will have anything to do with fallen man, to draw him out of darkness and to translate him into His wonderful light. Here we come to the depths of eternity. In the stillness of eternity, the question was heard, “How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land?” How shall sinners ever be saved with the maintaining of God’s attributes? Upon this question the Son has answered, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” With His heart, He desired to become Surety. Who can ever fathom it? He who may understand something of it sinks away in wonderment.
If it had to come from their side, it would never succeed. What a wonder it is, therefore, that the Word does not just say that no one can come to Jesus but also it is written that the Father will draw them. What a precious gospel this is for those who do not know how they must be saved. Here we can cast a glance into the loving heart of the Father. God has had thoughts of peace for those who were guilty of death. Has that ever become a wonder for you?
Upon the grounds of that eternal pledge, the Father sent the Son to this earth in the fullness of time so that He may prepare the way of salvation. What a deep way He had to go! He was slain in the house of His friends. As a criminal He was cast out of the camp, and as an accursed One He was nailed to the cross. What a costly price he had to pay. No, God does not overlook sin! So great is His wrath against sin that (rather than that it should remain unpunished) He has punished the same in His only beloved Son Jesus Christ with the bitter and shameful death of the cross. In that way He has also assuaged the wrath against all those who have been given Him of the Father.
Because no one can or will come to Him, the Father shall draw them to Him by His Spirit. That is why Christ also prayed, “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” God the Father vouchsafes the salvation of that people whom He has loved with an everlasting love. That is why He will draw them with the cords of Adam, with the bands of love. That drawing is an irresistible drawing. The word drawing in the original languages means “dragging.” They must be torn away out of the might of death and sin. How they try to withstand that drawing love of God, and what a benefit it is that He makes a willing people in the day of His power. It all comes from God. They are saved, but only because He wills it.
In His drawing love, the Lord opens the eyes of His people for the reality of their lost condition. They come to the realization that they are without God and have angered Him with their sins. Their entire life is placed in the light of God’s holiness. They come to the realization that they are children of wrath. No, when the Father begins to draw them, He does not immediately draw them to His Son. He who is drawn comes face to face with God, and before that God he cannot exist. No, such a person cannot see that this is now a fruit of that drawing love. He is, indeed, the most miserable person upon the earth. As a publican he stands from far, not daring even to raise his eyes. He has a disease which no one knows anything about, and he dares not speak about it with anyone.
Yet, they come to the Lord with this need. They confess their sins unto Him. They pour out their heart in secret, bemoaning their sins and what they are lacking. When they are lamenting their condition in such a manner, then the wonder happens that the love of God fills their heart, and a living hope towards God is born. Would God still be willing to have something to do with them? There, they may taste something of heaven, yet they do not know Jesus. Place must be made for Him, and to that end the Father draws them away from everything which had given them hope. Oh, how anxious they then become! God’s justice follows hard after them, and there is no escape. They have earned death, not only because of their unrighteousness but also because of their self-righteousness.
What blessed hours they may experience, however, when, in the gospel, the way of life is revealed unto them. How their desires go out to Him. How suitable and precious He is, and the more they learn to know Him, the more precious He becomes. They hunger and thirst after His righteousness. No, they are not satisfied with just knowing that He exists. Oh, if they could only go to Jesus they would accept Him, but for that their arms are too short. If it had to come from their side, it would be eternally lost. What a benefit that the Lord vouchsafes His own work. It is He that draws toward the Son so that He may be granted unto them in His Son as a God of complete salvation. Blessed are the people that may come to Him and find their pleasure in Him. Yea, blessed are they who may find the salvation of their soul in His precious blood. Of Him shall their praise be in the great congregation: “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
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Bekijk de hele uitgave van zaterdag 1 maart 2014
The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's
Bekijk de hele uitgave van zaterdag 1 maart 2014
The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's